THE discovery of a highly drug resistant superbug for the first time at the hospital in Pembury has been described as a ‘significant event’ by the Trust’s board.
A spokesman for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust confirmed a patient had been discovered to be infected ‘recently’ with the bacteria Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE), but said it was not contracted within the hospital.
The revelation came to light in minutes of a Trust board meeting on July 19. They noted that the patient was isolated once the infection was discovered and that the hospital’s screening processes were ‘operating properly’.
As a result, Sara Mumford, Director of Infection Prevention and Control said during the meeting she did not intend to change the Trust’s response to such cases.
CPE is carried by most humans harmlessly within the gut, but it can become deadly if it enters the blood.
Most at risk are those who are already sick or frail as many last line antibiotics are ineffective because the bacteria produce an enzyme which breaks down the antibiotic.
This means a combination of different types of antibiotic or more toxic drugs need to be used, upping the risk of treatment.
About 40-50% of patients with a CPE bloodstream infection die.
A spokesman for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust said: “We can confirm that we have recently treated a patient who tested positive for CPE following admission to Tunbridge Wells hospital.
“This was not an infection that the patient developed at Tunbridge Wells Hospital. The patient was cared for appropriately and in accordance with our strict infection control processes for managing cases of CPE infection.
“It is generally recognised that there are two types of antibiotic that may be used for the treatment of this type of infection.
“We are unable to comment further due to patient confidentiality.”